Monia Gennari

University of Bologna, Bolonia, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

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Publications (19)61.62 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Corticosteroid treatment is the standard of care in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), but the optimal age to initiate treatment and dosage pattern remain a matter of discussion. We performed a long-term study of alternate-day corticosteroids in five 2- to 4-year-old DMD patients. The primary outcome measure was prolongation of the ability to walk. One patient lost ambulation at age 10. Four patients, aged 16 to 18 were fully ambulant, and 3 of them could still climb stairs. Respiratory function was moderately reduced in 2. Left ventricular ejection fraction was > 45%. Short stature and delayed puberty were the most relevant side effects. Although the negative impact of corticosteroid treatment on growth rate remained their major concern, parents and patients stated that they preferred corticosteroid therapy. Long-term corticosteroid treatment is effective in prolonging function but not in recovering lost function, and its early use seems appropriate.
    Muscle & Nerve 06/2012; 45(6):796-802. · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The prevalence of children with hypertension is increasing, especially in obese children. This study was to assess the relationship between blood pressure, indexes of adiposity, body fat distribution and insulin resistance. Sample: 1044 children (M/F: 484/560; aged 6-11 years). Anthropometry and blood pressure were measured and fasting blood samples were tested for triacylglycerol, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, glucose, insulin and ALT. The prevalence of high blood pressure in overweight males and females was 14.3 and 6.4%, respectively (chi(2)=16.73, p<0.001) and in obese it was 40.4 and 32.8%, respectively (chi(2)=5.56, p<0.001). High blood pressure increased progressively with BMI z-score categories (chi(2)=67.99, p<0.001) as well as with waist/height ratio (W/Hr) categories (chi(2)=23.51, p<0.001). Hypertensive subject had significantly higher insulin (15.6+/-9.8 vs 11.9+/-7.2, p<0.001 and 20.63+/-14.7 vs 15.26+/-9.8, p<0.001 in males and females respectively) and HOMA(IR) (3.23+/-2.1 vs 2.42+/-1.49, p<0.001 and 4.12+/-2.87 vs 3.07+/-1.98, p<0.001 in males and in females, respectively) than non-hypertensive ones. Among metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors, HOMA(IR) was the only variable able to predict high blood pressure in obese boys and girls, in addition to BMI or body fat distribution (waist, W/Hr). The highest HOMA(IR) category was the most important predicting factor of high blood pressure in overweight and obese children in addition to body size or body fat distribution. Blood pressure is associated with the degree of overweight and the indices of body fat distribution. Insulin resistance is an independent additional risk factor for hypertension.
    Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases: NMCD 09/2009; 20(4):266-73. · 3.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The distal region on the short arm of chromosome 9 is of special interest for scientists interested in sex development as well as in the clinical phenotype of patients with the 9p deletion syndrome, characterized by mental retardation, trigonocephaly and other dysmorphic features. Specific genes responsible for different aspects of the phenotype have not been identified. Distal 9p deletions have also been reported in patients with 46,XY sex reversal, with or without 9p deletion syndrome. Within this region the strongest candidates for the gonadal dysgenesis phenotype are the DMRT genes; however, the genetic mechanism is not clear yet. Multiple ligation-dependent probe amplification represents a useful technique to evaluate submicroscopic interstitial or distal deletions that would help the definition of the minimal sex reversal region on 9p and could lead to the identification of gene(s) responsible of the 46,XY gonadal disorders of sex development (DSD). We designed a synthetic probe set that targets genes within the 9p23-9p24.3 region and analyzed a group of XY patients with impaired gonadal development. We characterized a deletion distal to the DMRT genes in a patient with isolated 46,XY gonadal DSD and narrowed down the breakpoint in a patient with a 46,XY del(9)(p23) karyotype with gonadal DSD and mild symptoms of 9p deletion syndrome. The results are compared with other patients described in the literature, and new aspects of sex reversal and the 9p deletion syndrome candidate regions are discussed.
    European journal of human genetics: EJHG 06/2009; 17(11):1439-47. · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aim of this study is to report on basal clinical phenotype and follow up after diagnosis, of patients with 17beta-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase type 3 (17beta-HSD3) deficiency in Italy. Pediatric Endocrine Departments, University Hospitals. The cases of 5 Italian subjects affected by 17beta-HSD3 deficiency are presented in this study. Laboratory and genetic assessment. Gonadectomy and female sex assignment (4 patients) or GnRH analog therapy to regress puberty and gender identity disorder (1 patient). Presentation lasted from pregnancy (pre-natal diagnosis of a 46,XY fetus with female external genitalia) to infancy (inguinal hernia containing testes/clitoromegaly) and adolescence (virilisation). All subjects but one (subject 1, Central-Northern Italy) were from small areas of Southern Italy. Endocrine data (baseline and/or stimulated testosterone/ Delta4-androstenedione ratio) were informative. Two girls were homozygous for 17beta-HSD3 gene mutations (G289S/G289S; R80W/R80W), while the others were compound heterozygous (IVS325+4 A>T/A203V; L212Q/M235V; R80W/A235E). Four patients were confirmed as females and were well-adjusted with assigned sex; gender identity disorder improved during treatment with GnRH analog in the last subject. 17betaHSD3 deficiency may present from pregnancy to puberty for different clinical issues. Albeit testosterone/Delta4-androstenedione ratio represents the most accurate endocrine marker to diagnose the disorder, hCGstimulation is mandatory in pre-puberty. Molecular analysis of 17beta-HSD3 gene should be performed to confirm the diagnosis. Temporary GnRH analog treatment may regress gender identity disorder and provide time to confirm or change the birth sex assignment. Female individuals seems to be compliant with their sex, providing that virilisation does not occur. In Italy, the disorder seems to be more prevalent in the Southern regions and shows genetic heterogeneity.
    Journal of endocrinological investigation 05/2009; 32(8):666-70. · 1.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Persistentmullerian duct syndrome (PMDS) is characterized by the presence of uterus, fallopian tubes and the upper part of the vagina in 46,XY patients with perfectly virilized external genitalia. It is mostly caused by mutations of the AMH or AMH type 2 receptor (AMHR2) gene. The AMH serum level is very often low or undetectable in the AMH gene defect and normal in the AMHR2 gene defect. We investigate an Italian patient, genotypically and phenotypically male, observed at 1 month of age for a right inguinal hernia that at surgery showed the presence of both testes in the same hernial sac and uterus and fallopian tubes in the abdomen. Genetic tests first showed the absence of the common 27-bp deletion in the AMHR2 gene, then the presence of three new sequence variations in the AMH geneleading to the following variants: the p.A405P carried by the paternal allele; the p.G326V plus the p.V508A carried by the maternal allele. The determination of serum AMH, performed after the genetic analysis, showed a normal level for age, suggesting that these mutations may affect the function and the bioactivity of the hormone and not the secretion rate.
    Hormone Research 07/2008; 70(2):124-8. · 2.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Carney complex (CNC) is an autosomal dominant multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome (OMIM 160980). About 70% of cases are familiar; most have mutations of the PRKAR1A gene on chromosome 17q22-24. There is little phenotype-genotype correlation known to date. To study the genotype-phenotype correlation in a family with newly diagnosed CNC and three generations of subjects bearing the same PRKAR1A mutation. The proband was diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma, a tumour that appears to be associated with CNC. The study consisted of clinical and genetic analysis of a total of 10 individuals belonging to a large Italian family. The index case was referred for PRKAR1A gene mutation analysis because he met the diagnostic criteria for a clinical diagnosis of CNC. The PRKAR1A-inactivating mutation c.502 +1G > A in the intron 5 splice-donor site was detected after bidirectional sequencing of germline DNA. The mutation causes a frameshift in the transcribed sequence and a nonsense mRNA that was shown to be degraded; this leads to PRKAR1A haploinsufficiency in all tissues. All available relatives were screened first by DNA testing and, if the latter was positive, by clinical, biochemical and imaging means. A novel PRKAR1A mutation with an apparently low penetrance and variable expression is reported; the same mutation is also associated with a hepatocellular carcinoma. This is the first time a PRKAR1A mutation is reported in individuals who were diagnosed with CNC after retrospective family screening and following the identification of a proband; the finding has implications for genetic counselling on PRKAR1A and/or CNC.
    Clinical Endocrinology 05/2008; 69(5):751-5. · 3.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study of the presence of alexithymic characteristics in obese adolescents and preadolescents tested the hypothesis of whether they showed impaired recognition and expression of emotion. The sample included 30 obese young participants and a control group of 30 participants of normal weight for their ages. Stimuli, 42 faces representing seven emotional expressions, were shown to participants who identified the emotion expressed in the face. The Level of Emotional Awareness Scale was adapted for children to evaluate their ability to describe their emotions. Young obese participants had significantly lower scores than control participants, but no differences were found in recognition of emotion. The lack of words to describe emotions might suggest a greater prevalence of alexithymic characteristics in the obese participants, but the hypothesis of a general deficit in the processing of emotional experiences was not supported.
    Perceptual and Motor Skills 11/2007; 105(2):477-82. · 0.49 Impact Factor
  • Neuromuscular Disorders 10/2007; 17(9):772-772. · 3.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The renal form of pseudohypoaldosteronism type 1 (PHA1) is a rare disease caused by mutations in the human mineralocorticoid receptor gene (NR3C2). Aim of the study was to analyze the NR3C2 gene in three Italian patients with clinical signs of renal PHA1 and to evaluate the distribution of the -2G > C, c.538A > G, and c.722C > T single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) pattern in the PHA1 patients and in 90 controls of the same ethnic origin. Analysis of the NR3C2 gene sequence and of the polymorphic SNP markers. Functional characterization of the detected novel NR3C2 mutations utilizing aldosterone-binding assays and reporter gene transactivation assays. One novel nonsense (Y134X) and one novel frameshift (2125delA) mutation were detected. They exhibited no aldosterone binding and no transactivation abilities. No mutation was detected in the third patient. Haploinsufficiency of NR3C2 was ruled out by microsatellite analysis in this patient. The c.722T SNP was detected in 97% of alleles in the Italian population which is significantly different from the general German or US population. Molecular analysis of the NR3C2 gene in PHA1 patients is warranted to detect novel mutations in order to clarify the underlying genetic cause, which may extend the insight into relevant functional regions of the hMR protein. The effect the different distribution of the c.722T SNP is not clear to date. Further studies are necessary to provide evidence as to a possible advantage of a less sensitive hMR in southern countries.
    European Journal of Endocrinology 03/2007; 156(2):249-56. · 3.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: GH replacement therapy in GH-deficient (GHD) patients is usually continued until adult height despite the fact that most of these subjects display a normal secretion when retested at the end of growth. Puberty is the most likely time for normalization of GH secretion. The objectives of this study are to establish the characteristics and the percentage of the subjects with isolated GHD who normalized secretion at puberty and to compare their statural outcomes with those of the subjects with persistent deficiency treated also after retesting. This was a prospective, nonrandomized, open-label study conducted in a university research hospital. Sixty-nine subjects (40 male, 29 female) with a diagnosis before puberty of isolated GHD by means of arginine and l-dopa tests were reevaluated with the same tests after at least 2 yr of therapy and after puberty onset. If GH peak at retesting was more than 10 microg/liter, therapy was withdrawn. Percentage and characteristics of normalized subjects at retesting, outcome of treatment in the subjects treated or untreated to adult height, and factors predictive of growth outcome were measured. At retesting, 44 subjects (63.7%) confirmed a GH peak less than 10 microg/liter (24 of 40 male and 20 of 29 female). Apart from a less delayed bone age at diagnosis in females, the subjects with confirmed GHD were not different at diagnosis from the other group for height deficit at diagnosis, first year growth response to GH, age and height at puberty onset, height, and IGF-I at retesting. Mean adult height was 165.1 +/- 4.5 cm in the male group treated until adult height vs. 164.0 +/- 3.4 cm in the group who suspended therapy at retesting. Mean adult height was 153.2 +/- 4.1 cm in the female group treated until adult height vs. 152.9 +/- 5.2 cm in the group that suspended therapy at retesting. As regards the parameters expressing the final outcome, the only difference was found in the mean increment adult height-target height sd score in favor of the male group treated until adult height. In both sexes, therapy duration and GH levels at diagnosis and at retesting were unrelated to adult height parameters and to height increments during the period of observation. One third of our GHD subjects diagnosed before puberty presented a normal secretion at puberty. The withdrawal of GH therapy in these subjects after retesting was not associated with a catch down growth, and they obtained an adult height similar to those obtained by the GHD subjects treated until adult height. It seems convenient, in subjects with nonsevere GHD, to retest GH secretion at midpuberty and to withdraw treatment for the subjects that are no longer deficient.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 12/2006; 91(11):4271-6. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the adult reproductive outcome in girls with early puberty who participated in a previous random study. A total of 22 subjects treated with triptorelin 3.75 mg every 4 weeks (group 1), 18 subjects not treated (group 2), and 22 age-matched normal volunteers (control group) underwent a physical examination, serum hormone level determination, and pelvic ultrasonography. The characteristics of menstrual cycles, serum hormone levels, and ultrasound results did not differ significantly among the 3 groups examined. The mean ovarian volume and the uterine volume tended to increase in the subjects of group 2, but the differences were not significant. The percentage of subjects who reported being sexually active at the time of the examination was greater in the 2 groups with previous early puberty than in the controls (76% of cases in group 1, 72% in group 2, and 59% in the control group). Neither early puberty nor its treatment seems to significantly affect the normal adult function of the pituitary-gonadal axis.
    Journal of Pediatrics 11/2006; 149(4):532-6. · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor (GnRHR) gene are the cause of isolated hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (HH). We describe the molecular investigations of the GnRHR gene in two siblings affected by HH and their clinical course. The female was referred at age 14 for pubertal delay with no secondary sexual signs, whereas the male had been followed since prepuberty. Hormonal evaluation showed very low levels of gonadotropins, luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone test (LHRH test) and sexual steroids in both patients, suggesting a possible defect in the mechanism of action of the GnRH gene on its receptor. The GnRHR gene of the two siblings and their parents were analyzed by PCR followed by direct sequencing. Two new single nucleotide substitutions resulting in the T104I and the Y108C substitutions in the first extracellular loop (ECL1) were identified in both siblings. The molecular analysis confirmed the carrier status of the parents. We identified two new missense mutations in the GnRHR gene in two siblings with HH. The nature of the substitutions lying in the ECL1 involved in the ligand-receptor interaction, as well as the high conservation of the two residues in all mammalian GnRHR, are suggestive of some implications in the phenotype observed.
    European Journal of Endocrinology 09/2006; 155(2):201-5. · 3.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pituitary adenomas in Cushing disease (CD) are usually small and difficult to visualize. Bilateral inferior petrosal venous sampling (BIPSS) before and after ovine CRH stimulation is reserved for patients who have ACTH-dependent Cushing syndrome and negative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or positive MRI but inconsistent biochemical data. The objective of the study was to evaluate the usefulness of BIPSS as a tool for localization of a pituitary adenoma in children with CD. The study was a retrospective review of the records of 141 children who were admitted for evaluation of CD from 1982 to 2004. The study was conducted at a tertiary care center. Lateralization of ACTH secretion during BIPSS was compared with MRI and surgical findings for the localization of a microadenoma. A total of 94 patients, 49 males and 45 females with an age range of 5.3 to 18.7 yr (13 +/- 3.2 yr), underwent BIPSS. Localization of a microadenoma by BIPSS agreed with surgical location in only 58% of the cases (95% confidence interval, 43-66). The combined use of information from the MRI and inferior petrosal venous sampling did not predict the location of the tumor more frequently than MRI alone (P > 0.1), which in this study localized a lesion in 39% of the patients (95% confidence interval, 28-50). The procedure was completed successfully in all patients, and no serious complications were recorded. Although BIPSS was safe and well tolerated in an experienced center, lateralization of the ACTH gradient during BIPSS was a poor predictor of the site of the adenoma in children with CD.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 01/2006; 91(1):221-4. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The differential diagnosis of male under-masculinization, including a wide spectrum of phenotypes and a heterogeneous genetic basis, is crucial for the correct management of the patients. To characterize an Italian population of under-masculinized males, we performed the molecular analysis of the SRD5A2 gene (2p23), encoding the 5alpha-reductase-2 enzyme that converts testosterone (T) to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and is required for full masculinization of the male foetus. Twenty-six Italian patients with 46,XY kariotype and various degrees of ambiguous genitalia were retrospectively selected for this study. Twelve of these patients, 10 of whom were referred for partial androgen insensitivity syndrome (PAIS), were raised as females; 15 were raised as males and all had a severe hypospadias. For most of the patients, the case histories and hormonal findings were incomplete but all could be included in the clinical characteristics of under-masculinization. For hormonal evaluation, T and DHT were measured by means of radioimmunoassay (RIA) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-RIA methods, respectively. Genomic DNA of all patients and relatives was extracted from peripheral blood, the five exons of the SRD5A2 gene were amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and submitted to automatic sequencing. Five known mutations affecting the NADPH binding function and one new mutation affecting the enzyme C-terminus were identified in a total of eight patients (two of whom were sisters). Five families were characterized, and in two patients only one affected allele was observed. The extension of the analysis to the regions flanking exons allowed the identification of a new polymorphism in intron 2, whose frequency was determined. This first report of an Italian population underlines the importance of differential diagnoses in patients with under-masculinization. The lack of precise genotype-phenotype correlation in some of the mutations highlights the necessity to improve knowledge about the biochemical aspects of steroid 5alpha-reductase action and about the interactions of genetic and environmental factors.
    Clinical Endocrinology 11/2005; 63(4):375-80. · 3.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ghrelin is a peptide with a potent capacity to release GH and other metabolic activities. An acyl modification is indispensable for biological activity. Acylated and desacylated forms of ghrelin are both present in the blood. No data exist about the ratio between active ghrelin and total ghrelin in the first period of life. To investigate whether ghrelin may be involved in physiological roles during fetal life. Ghrelin, growth hormone (GH), and leptin concentrations were measured in cord plasma in 98 newborns of healthy mothers. Acyl-ghrelin and the sum of acylated and desacylated forms of ghrelin (total ghrelin) were measured using specific radioimmunoassays. Acylated ghrelin and total ghrelin did not correlate with birth weight, gestational age, body mass index, head circumference, birth length, leptin or GH in plasma cord blood. The absence of clinically significant correlations between both active and total ghrelin and GH, leptin or anthropometric data does not enable us to ascribe a precise role to ghrelin in prenatal life.
    Journal of pediatric endocrinology & metabolism: JPEM 05/2005; 18(4):379-84. · 0.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In a retrospective study we evaluated long-term growth, pubertal developmental patterns to final height (FH), and medication in 55 patients (35 females) affected by 21-hydroxylase deficiency. The patients were classified into 3 groups according to predicted mutation severity: group A (11 women and 9 men), homozygous or compound heterozygous for null or In2 splice mutations [residual enzymatic activity (RA), <1%]; group B (11 women and 4 men), homozygous for I172N or R341P or R426H mutations (RA, approximately 2-3%) or compound heterozygous with any of the group A or B mutations; and group C (13 women and 7 men), homozygous for P30L or V281L or P453S mutations (RA, >30%) or compound heterozygous with any of the group A, B, or C mutations. Three patients showed unclassifiable genotypes. FH was similar in the female groups, whereas male patients in group B were shorter than males in groups A and C. Fifty-five percent of patients in group A, 33% in group B, and 40% in group C reached an FH within 0.5 SD of target height. Four of the 7 patients diagnosed via neonatal screening achieved an FH equal to or above the target height. In the entire group, early diagnosis (<1 yr) improved height outcome. Early diagnosed CAH patients who received lower cortisol equivalent doses during the first year of life reached a better FH. Our results underline the importance of mineralocorticoid therapy, as CAH subjects in groups A and B who did not receive this treatment showed reduced FH. Early diagnosis, the use of more physiological cortisol equivalent dosages during the first year of life, and the extension of mineralocorticoid therapy to all classical patients are shown to improve the auxological outcome. Genotypic analysis helped to interpret the height results of our cases and prospectively may represent a useful tool for improving the therapeutic choice and the height outcome.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 01/2004; 88(12):5680-8. · 6.43 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Genetics 10/2003; 64(3):258-60. · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this long-term, open parallel-group, double-consent study of alternate-day, low-dose prednisone in 2-4-year-old patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) was to determine whether prednisone produces a beneficial effect when given earlier than usual. Muscle function was evaluated by timed tests, and muscle strength with a hand-held myometer. After 55 months of treatment, the five patients (mean age 8.3 years) in the prednisone group were still able to get up from the floor, whereas two of the three in the control group had lost this ability. Side effects included a decline in growth rate in the prednisone-treated patients and excessive weight gain in one control and three treated patients. Because steroids are effective in prolonging function, but not in recovering lost function, we propose that treatment be started with low-dose prednisone in DMD patients as soon as the diagnosis is definite.
    Muscle & Nerve 03/2003; 27(2):222-7. · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this investigation was to evaluate the utility of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 determinations in screening for GH deficiency (GHD) in children previously submitted to treatment for childhood malignancy. We compared the GH responses to two pharmacological tests (arginine and levo-dopa) with the IGF-I and IGFBP-3 levels in 48 patients (29 boys) who had undergone bone marrow transplantation (BMT) (36 patients) or treatment for a solid cranial tumor (12 patients). 22 patients (45.8%) showed GHD (i.e. GH peak < 8 ng/ml in both tests), and only three (13.6%) of the GHD patients had concomitant low IGF-I levels (i.e. -2 SD below the normal mean) and only one (4.5%) an abnormal IGFBP-3 value (i.e. -2 SD below the normal mean). Among the 26 children with normal GH secretion, 21 (80.8%) also showed normal IGF-I and IGFBP-3 levels, three (11.5%) had a concomitant low IGF-I value and two (7.7%) a concomitant low IGFBP-3 value. A significant correlation was found between GH secretion and age at diagnosis (r = 0.26, P < 0.05), and between IGF-I and IGFBP-3 (r = 0.52, P < 0.0001), but not between GH and IGF-I or IGFBP-3. Comparing the growth pattern of these patients from diagnosis to the first year after therapy or BMT, we found that while individual height changes did not correlate with the GH peak, a significant correlation was found between height SDS decrease and IGF-I (r = 0.31, P < 0.05) or IGFBP-3 SDS (r = 0.37, P < 0.01). Our results indicate that the cut-off of -2 SD for IGF-I and IGFBP-3 was insensitive in screening for GHD. A normal value did not exclude a subnormal GH response to provocative tests and therefore although IGF-I and IGFBP-3 levels may be indicators of the growth pattern, they cannot be used alone as a tool for identifying GHD children after treatment for childhood malignancy.
    Journal of pediatric endocrinology & metabolism: JPEM 01/1999; 12(5):629-38. · 0.75 Impact Factor